Last week, before I came back to Lagos and real life, I was running along the canal near my house in England, and my feet hurt a little, but the sun was shining and the breath in my chest was steady, and there was a grey-haired man cleaning out his house boat while his shaggy dog sat patiently watching, and my music was a Drake song that had just come out and was inhabiting my head in the best possible way, and my sister was running along about a pace or two behind me. A few months before that I’d been told by a very clever doctor to prepare for life as a partially disabled person and there I was pounding along a path in the sunshine. Life is an up-and-down sort of thing that no-one can predict but this- this was the sort of thing you stand up in a church and sing about. This was the sort of thing you write a book about. This was my real life.
Last year I almost died in a white-sheeted hospital bed. This year I had a transplant. Somehow I’ve come out the other end of both things scarred but stronger. My faith has carried me through, yes, but mainly it was my people- my father, who often fell asleep at the end of my bed, my sister, who regularly went days without sleep, my brother, who set alarms to wake up and pray for me, my friends, who sent bouquets of flowers that made me weep and held my hand and never, ever, let me feel alone.
It took a miraculously short time to feel well and hopeful again- months yes but against the backdrop of the rest of my (hopefully healthy!) life, I feel like I blinked and went from red to green. I feel lucky and too full of feelings. I feel hopeful and afraid that I’ll forget all this and revert back to whining about things like the weather and economy class flights. I feel sure though that I’ve been given another go at things.
Nothing good comes without a price so I won’t pretend there weren’t moments when I was a snivelling, cowering wreck of a pain-coward. Awful to be around and impossible to love. But, again, my people. My faith. My sheer dumb luck.
So in the spirit of paying things forward, and sharing what (little) I’ve learned, I thought I’d say two things to anyone who’s in the middle of their own maelstrom. Firstly, resist the urge to isolate yourself and instead aggressively and selfishly surround yourself with people who can carry you when you can’t carry yourself. Secondly, if you need to or want to, please email me if you need someone to talk to at miafarraday at gmail dot com.
Happier, sillier, more frivolous posts to come. xx